Google starts offering beta test option for the official Google app

If you’re the kind of person who loves to have new stuff before others, the Google ecosystem is usually a good place to be. Google loves to try out new features and offer beta versions of its apps to users. Google Chrome beta has been in the Play Store for years, and now Google has started up an option for those who want to beta test the main Google search app.

Unlike Chrome, this won’t be a separate app in the Play Store, but instead will use the standard beta path that Google allows other developers to use, meaning if you sign up to be part of the beta program, you’ll just get app updates before the general public. The Google app is a very interesting option for a beta program, because it controls quite a bit in Android, including Google search, voice commands, Google Now, and Now on Tap. There’s a lot of places to get some cool features before others.
Once you join, you should see the update come through to bring your Google app from version 5.3 to 5.4. Unfortunately, this first update bump doesn’t bring anything noticeable to the experience. But, at some point there should be some cool features to be had.



Google Translate now works inside apps on Android Marshmallow

Google Translate app

Translating words and phrases on Android is about to get a lot easier: Google has announced that it’s integrating translation features into individual apps with the roll-out of Android 6.0 Marshmallow.

When Marshmallow arrives on your phone – or if you’re buying one of the new Nexus devices with it preinstalled – all you then need to do is install Google Translate on your handset and you can access translation options from inside your favourite apps.

Whether a particular app supports the feature depends on its developer, but Google says it’s made the integration very easy to add. Apps like TripAdvisor, WhatsApp and LinkedIn are already on board, Google says.

Talk like a native

Presumably all of Google’s own apps will soon be updated to access this tool in Marshmallow as well. According to Google’s GIF-laden blog post, you simply tap the button to the side of the usual cut and copy options when text is selected on screen.

Whether you want to browse Twitter in a foreign language or make sense of what your Spanish cousins are trying to say, the new capabilities should come in handy in a host of different situations. 90 languages are supported from the off, Google says.

“More than 500 million people translate over 100 billion words a day on Google Translate,” writes Barak Turovsky from the Google Translate team. “With updates like this one, plus features like conversation mode and instant camera translation, we’re making Translate available anywhere you need it.”

Google explains the meanings behind the Pixel C, Nexus 5X and 6P names

Earlier today a member of the Google team tasked with producing the new Nexus devices, Hiroshi Lockheimer, took on a Reddit Ask Me Anything (AMA). The first interesting bit of news to come from that session was the reason why Google decided to leave out wireless charging from the new handsets, and now we also know what the 5X and 6P names mean.

According to Lockheimer, the X in Nexus 5X is to signify that the device is the “core of the Nexus brand” (not to mention the core of the word Nexus). Lockheimer didn’t expand, but we’d guess he was referring to the fact that Nexus devices have traditionally aimed at being great all-around devices, not necessarily with the best specs, with the pure Google experience at a reasonable price point. Lockheimer also said the P in Nexus 6P means “premium”, and the C in Pixel C means “convertible”. Those are pretty easy to figure out given the specs and build materials of the Nexus 6P and the fact that the Pixel C is a tablet/laptop combo.
We’d say the names are something of a letdown, but frankly there was no reason to expect anything bigger behind the names. It’s not like we expected the names to come out as 5X to symbolize the original five members of the X-Men or anything like that. The best we figured was 6P would be for “plus” or “phablet”.